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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry


Sign for the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry

Unit lead: Professor Victoria Bird 

The Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry (USCP) conducts research on social interactions ('what happens between people and social systems') in mental health care and society as a whole. We are a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre, the only one specifically for Mental Health Service Development worldwide, and our work includes developing and evaluating innovative interventions.

The Unit was established in 1997 and is part of the Centre for Psychiatry and Mental Health, within the Wolfson Institute of Population Health at Queen Mary University of London. USCP collaborates closely with the East London NHS Foundation Trust (rated "Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission). We are located in the London Borough of Newham, in East London, the most ethnically diverse borough in the UK. Our work supports clinical services to ensure that service users are supported with evidence-based approaches. 

We exist to improve the lives of people dealing with mental distress across the world and develop and test psychosocial interventions, both nationally and globally. We identify approaches that improve people’s lives, including those with severe mental illness (both adults and young people), and other groups such as people with learning disabilities. We work with established clinical services, as well as local community groups to better support such people. We also aim to give community groups the tools they need to deal with and overcome mental distress.

Our research addresses concepts, methods and practice of social psychiatry and includes the following main themes:

  • Global Mental Health
  • Community Arts based approaches and methods
  • Psychosocial interventions, including arts therapies
  • DIALOG+ (a routine solution focused intervention)
  • Social connectedness
  • Mental Health Service Development
  • Service user involvement and participatory approaches

The team uses a wide range of research methods including, large randomised controlled trials, cohort studies, naturalistic experiments, qualitative work and arts-based methods.  This work involves interdisciplinary collaboration with social sciences, computer sciences and humanities. We value mutual learning and have an active programme of knowledge exchange, including seminars with internal and external collaborators, presentations and training.

Our work is funded by a range of funding bodies including, NIHR, EU Horizon, Research Councils (e.g., MRC, ESRC), Bart’s Charity, British Academy and more. Collectively we have generated more than £40m in the past 10 years in competitive research income. The team is comprised of researchers from multiple backgrounds, including psychiatrists, arts therapists, nurses, epidemiologists, trialists and health services researchers. USCP is also involved in teaching at both QMUL and ELFT, and there are several PhD students supported within the Unit. Additionally, we work closely with service users and carers with lived experience of mental distress and involve experts by experience in all aspects of our research.

To learn more about our research, follow us on X (@QMULSocialPsych) and please visit the Research Section.

Our Team

Victoria Bird – Unit Lead

Afia Ali - Clinical Reader in Intellectual Disability Psychiatry

Kelly Wintsch 

Tessa Roberts - Lecturer 

Catherine Carr – Clinical Lecturer

Agnes Chevalier – SCENE Programme Manager 

Philip McNamee – Programme Manager

Emma Medlicott – Trial Manager

Renata Peppl – Trial Manager

Sana Sajun – Trial Manager

Francois Van Loggerenberg – Research Fellow

Catherine Fung – Research Fellow/ Trial Manager

Jennifer French – Researcher

Aleksandra Matanov – Researcher

Lauren Hounsell – Research Assistant

Lauren Jerome – Research Assistant

Lopez Chemas, Natalia – Research Assistant

Emma Millard – Research Assistant

Katy Packer – Research Assistant

Natalia Lopez - Research Assistant

Diliniya Sureshkumar - Research Assistant

Komal Dayani - Research Manager

Ayed, Nadia – PhD Student

Franziska Mosler – PhD Student

Nicola Power – PhD Student

Vian Rajabzadeh – PhD Student

Megan Tjasink – PhD Student 

Madison Stephens - PhD Student 



Victoria Amoah or Nikitta Rowe 


Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry

Newham Centre for Mental Health

Glen Road


E13 8SP


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